For the most recent government guidance on infection prevention and control (IPC), visit this web page.
PPE will now be provided to all GOS contractors free of charge, via an online portal. Orders through the portal should arrive within 48 hours if placed before 1pm. To receive an invitation to register with the PPE portal, contractors will require an NHS mail address that's registered with the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC).
If your practice doesn't yet have an nhs.net address, please use this form to apply for one. The address will then automatically be registered with DHSC.
If you, or your practice, already has an nhs.net address, you can use section 6 of the same form to register your address for access to the portal, indicating that you are happy for it to be linked to a specific contractor. Learn more about NHS mail. For enquiries relating to NHS mail, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, including allocated order quantities see the government guidance. Enquiry line for the PPE portal: 0800 876 6802 (7 days per week, from 07.00 to 19.00). FAQs are also available after logging in to the PPE portal.
Watch a video explaining how to order PPE from the portal.
30th October 2020 - For those practices who have chosen not to take advantage of the PPE portal, please be aware that the PPE shop set up by Primary Eyecare Services has now closed. Practices should visit the new Greenmaple online shop, which will stock the full range of PPE items.
5th October 2020 - FODO updated its Primary Eyecare Framework for Covid-19. Find this and other FODO Covid-19 resources, including 'PPE at a glance' on the FODO website.
2nd October 2020 - New PPE videos from Alcon are available through the BCLA.
29th September 2020 - The government outlined its strategy for building resilience into PPE supply.
24th September 2020 - The AOP updated its guidance following the return to level 4 (available to AOP members only), including new advice on which staff should be wearing PPE and what PPE is required.
24th September 2020 - DHSC updated its guidance for the public on Face coverings: when to wear one.
16th September 2020 - Public Health England updated its New recommendations for primary and community health care providers in England, including updated guidance on the use of face coverings.
13th September 2020 - Optometrists can now approach Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) to obtain clear face masks to assist in communication with people with hearing loss or others who rely on facial expressions. (See below for details of LRFs.)
10th September 2020 - The College of Optometrists revamped its primary eyecare pandemic guidance, which includes sections on PPE and infection control.
10th September 2020 - Given that the supply of PPE has now improved and the online portal is now available, the MHRA has withdrawn previous guidance which related to an acute shortage. We have also been advised that, for similar reasons, the Bucks PPE warehouse is closing down.
28th August 2020 - There's now an enquiry line for the PPE portal: 0800 876 6802.
21st August 2020 - Public Health England issued New recommendations for primary and community health care providers in England, including updated guidance on the use of face coverings. Also DHSC issued guidance for the public on Face coverings: when to wear one, with the advice that "Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings..."
20th August 2020 - Public Health England issued new Infection prevention and control recommendations, including the advice that "all visitors should wear a face covering in healthcare settings".
17th August 2020 - PPE will now be provided to all GOS contractors free of charge, via an online portal. To receive an invitation to register with the PPE portal, contractors will require an NHS mail address that's registered with the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC). You can download a letter explaining this from this page. Invitations will be sent out in a phased manner from 17th August 2020. For more information see the government guidance.
24th July 2020 - The wearing of face coverings became mandatory in shops and other confined spaces. The government confirmed that some venues are exempt, including 'dentists and opticians', and the College of Optometrists issued a statement in response to this. At the same time, the government also issued new recommendations for primary and community health care providers in England, including information on the use of face coverings by clinical and non-clinical healthcare staff.
24th June 2020 - MHRA issued the alert: PPE and heat: risk of heat stress.
24th June 2020 - BCLA issued guidance on the use of gloves in contact lens practice.
17th June 2020 - Following NHS England's letter on resumption of optical services in England, optical practices are now able to register with a wider range of wholesale suppliers to ensure that they have the appropriate PPE. In addition to the service set up by LOCSU and Primary Eyecare Services, a list of wholesalers has been supplied by NHS England, and is available to download from this page.
ABDO also has a list of PPE suppliers.
PPE should also be available from Local Resilience Forums (LRFs), but the process varies from one area to another. After much chasing around, we now have an official process in place for both Bucks and MK.
Obtaining PPE via the LRF in Bucks (excluding MK)
(Advice received from NHSE on 12th May 2020)
Please email email@example.com, explaining that you are unable to obtain any PPE from other sources. In your email state your expected daily usage and a clear delivery address (they can't just assume that it's the one in your email signature). At the time of writing, they have supplies of surgical masks, gloves (SML), aprons and visors. It should be stressed that this route is a last resort, for obtaining a small quantity as a stop-gap, when other sources are unavailable.
Some people may have received a letter from NHSE, with details about a 'Direct Supply Channel'. At present, this route is not open to us, so the advice remains as above.
Obtaining PPE via the LRF in MK
(Advice received from NHSE on 22nd May 2020)
"Should you require PPE for optometry staff the following process should be followed:
1. PPE should be ordered via local and regular wholesalers.
2. If local supplies are unavailable, for urgent supplies please contact the National Disruption Helpline on 0800 9159964 - phone lines are open 24/7
3. If both options above have been fully utilised and supplies will run out within 3 days based on current usage, for emergency PPE requirements please email the Primary Care Optometry Team on firstname.lastname@example.org . Please ensure Optician store contact details and your specific PPE requirements are contained within the email. Please write Emergency PPE Supply in the subject line of the email.
4. A member of the Primary Care Optometry Team will contact you to confirm your requirements and arrange for a delivery of PPE via the Local Resilience Forum."
ABDO has advice on PPE.
Guidance on the use of PPE is also available from the College of Optometrists. This includes: what PPE should be worn; advice on how to put on and remove PPE; how to dispose of PPE.
Further guidance on PPE is available from the AOP, including considerations on whether you need to see a patient face-to-face, and a video from Public Health England.
WHO has produced guidance on when and how to use a face mask.
On 3rd April 2020 guidance on the use of personal protective equipment was issued by NHS England. The letter and associated documents are available to download from this page.